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Falmouth helps propel Jamaica into top 10 fastest-growing cruise destination


Jamaica is back in the top-10 fastest-growing cruise destinations in the region after not making the list for the last five years.  Jamaica posted double-digit growth between January and May 2011, growth that has coincided with the opening of the Falmouth cruise port in February of this year.

Since February, Falmouth has seen nearly 181,650 passengers and 65,400 crew arrive which translates to generating $15.8 million in passenger expenditure.  

Falmouth was developed by the Port Authority of Jamaica in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited (RCCL), whose investments were estimated at $167 million and $102 million, respectively.  Royal Caribbean has promised to send eight million cruise passengers over the next 8 years into Falmouth.

Ahead of Jamaica is St Maarten with 21.5% growth, followed by the Bahamas at 16% and Jamaica in third with 12.6%.

Bari, Italy offers train service to Royal Caribbean passengers


The tourist port of Bari, Italy is taking a big leap forward this year with Royal Caribbean's mega cruise ships calling on Bari for a total of 22 times, which will bring 80,000 more tourists this year.

To help accommodate the passengers, the province is offering a shore train, the pilot project of the Department of mobility. The idea is to take through the intermodal bus and train cruise passengers visiting the port of Bari to visit the centers of major artistic and historical interest of the Province.  Partners of the project include the Port Authority of the Levant , the City of Conversano and Royal Caribbean.

The City of Conversano has provided a welcome service in the language, guided tours, tastings and wine, cooking classes and shops open.

The Councillor of Apulia Region Guglielmo Minervini explains the shore train project makes sense, "By enhancing the hospitality offered by the area more attractive we make the first step of Bari The trial will cover the city of conversation, but other centers will be able to join as early as next year."

Royal Caribbean among group of cruise companies visiting Alicante, Spain


Representatives of seven U.S. cruise companies will visit Alicante, Spain from September 22-24 to explore the possibilities of the port and the city for inclusion in the scales of their cruises.

At the Port of Alicante, employers will provide a detailed tour of the municipality, which includes a visit to the port facilities and various destinations in the city and the province suitable for cruisers trips.

The group is made up of directors of Royal Caribbean, Silversea, Windstar Cruises, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises, The World and NCL. They all pose a significant potential to attract cruise ship tourists, so the visit will be crucial for the interests of the Port and the city.

Result of relations with one of them, Royal Caribbean, owner of  Independence of the Seas, visited yesterday the Port of Alicante, with a passage more than 4,000 travelers who had the opportunity to many excursions in Alicante and its province. The ship, which came from Palma de Mallorca, afternoon sail to Lisbon, from where they sail back north to their summer base in Southampton.

Launched in 2008, the Independence of the Seas will return to dock in Alicante on 29 August.

Bahamas tried to convince Royal Caribbean to build cruise port on Great Inagua


According to a Wikileaks message released by the site, the Bahamas government attempted to convince Royal Caribbean to build a cruise port on the island of Great Inagua, exploiting that island's 50,000 pink flamingos.

The message from February 23, 2004 indicates former Bahemian Prime Minister Perry Christie met with United States Ambassador Robert Witajewski and discussed the plans.  Christie was hoping Inagua's flamingo population would give the island a competitive advantage in attracting cruise ship passengers.

Witajewski's report to Washington also mentioned, "The Prime Minister also revealed that he was in negotiations to conclude an agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to build a deep water port at Great Inagua".

The report continued, "Though the island is currently barren, it is home to more than 50,000 pink flamingos, a huge Morton Salt plant and at least one nice beach. He was hoping that the flamingo national park would provide cruise ship passengers with an interesting diversion to the normal Caribbean port of call.

"Christie took on board charge's suggestion that costs of constructing a base on Great Inagua could effectively be reduced if any Royal Caribbean construction were to be made part of the Government of the Bahamas' plans."

That refers to plans also unveiled by Prime Minister Christie to construct a strategic Defence Force base at Inagua, in an attempt to combat drug and illegal immigrant trafficking, plus fisheries poaching.

Enthusiasm in Genoa for Mariner of the Seas


A large group of senior policymakers from Liguria and Genoa, with the Mayor Marta Vincenzi, Claudio Burlando, President of the Region and President of the Port Louis Merlo, welcomed with great enthusiasm the first stop in Genoa of Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas.  Mariner of the Seas will make seven stops during this summer, while 14 are expected in 2012, for a total of 60,000 passengers.

In addition, as announced by Lina Mazzucco, general manager Royal Caribbean in Italy, "the company could become a shareholder of the passenger terminal of the Maritime Station, saw the new commitment of the port of Genoa."

At the first port of Genoa, Mariner of the Seas was also the scene of an opportunity to present the Royal Caribbean's partnership with the Telethon Foundation, a group that conducts research on genetic diseases.  Along with the testimonial of the initiative in Genoa - Olympic gold medalists Valentina Vezzali, Juri Chechi, Antonio Rossi. Royal Caribbean's Director of cruises in Italy, Lina  Mazzucco has provided details of the collaboration, which will be held with regular donations by Royal Caribbean, charity dinner on board ships arriving in Italy, and hospitality on board for the regular meetings of researchers from the Foundation.

Adriatic excursions on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas


Robin Robinson posted a summary of the excursions on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas Adriatic Sea itinerary.  This cruise itinerary is a departure from the traditional Mediterranean cruises most people consider so Robinson decided to see what it was like.

Some highlights if the cruise include

  • Koper, Slovenia
    A peek into a medieval town, Koper and nearby Piran offer an authentic look at these seaside villages.  
  • Ravenna, Italy
    Famous for its mosaics and World Heritage sites, Ravenna has a lot to offer from historical sites to Royal Caribbean's Racing Legends shore excursion, this tour also visits the Ferrari Museum in nearby Modena.
  • Venice, Italy
    Royal Caribbean offers an overnight stay in Venice so you can experience this historic city by day and by night.

Falmouth Jamaica Photo Update


Many of our readers are eager to know the state of construction at Falmouth, Jamaica.  Being one of Royal Caribbean's newest ports of call, it's a common stop for many Royal Caribbean Western Caribbean cruises.  If you're curious what the state of affairs are, here are some photos of the port that Otterman34 posted on CruiseCritic recently.

Port of Malaga grows 33% thanks to Royal Caribbean


The number of cruisers in the port of Malaga in Spain has grown 33 percent in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period last year, doubling the average growth for the rest of the Mediterranean. Specifically, a total of 243,794 passengers have passed through Malaga, compared to 182,927 in 2010.

Specifically, the average cruise passenger was of 2,050, up from 900 in 2010 as "fundamentally" the commitment of the Royal Caribbean in Malaga, "without doubt the largest cruise company in the world," although, however, Linde has stated that the rise in the number of vessels has not been "spectacular", a three per cent. During this period, eight ships have docked for the first time in the port, two more than last year.

Linde has pointed out to reporters that in addition to Royal Caribbean, there are more companies interested in Malaga port, but stressed that it is "the big client hoped to achieve with the opening of the second phase of the Sea."

Thus, Malaga is positioned at number 13 of the European rankings, with figures very close to the ports of Marseille (France) and Copenhagen (Denmark), as highlighted on Thursday during a press conference the president of the Port Authority Malaga Enrique Linde, who has called the balance sheet "in almost all traffic very positive."

Royal Caribbean's headquarters in Miami approved through 2021


Royal Caribbean's headquarters will remain in Miami, Florida until at least 2021 under the terms of an agreement approved Tuesday by the Miami-Dade County Commission.

Rent for Royal Caribbean in August 2015 will go to $3.8 million per year for the three building complex.  Miami deputy port director Juan Kuryla characterizes the price as "far below market value" but the deal will keep Royal Caribbean in the area for the foreseeable future.

The new agreement is good for ten years and includes clauses for two five-year renewals.

In addition, the port of Miami will be obligated to make $850,000 worth of repairs to the three buildings over the next couple years.  In addition, both Royal Caribbean and the Port of Miami will make $6 million in improvements to Terminal G. Miami-Dade county will pay $3.5 million and Royal Caribbean will pay $2.5 million.

What does this get Miami?  Royal Caribbean guarantees to bring in at least 325,000 passengers a year at Terminal G, a figure that is lower than years past. However, if Royal Caribbean reaches 375,000 passengers, Royal Caribbean is entitled to a discount on port fees that increases with every additional 50,000 passengers.

Royal Caribbean warns Key West that no dredging will result in ships passing them by


On Wednesday, residents of Key West, Florida discussed plans to dredge the channel to allow larger cruise ships to visit the city.  Royal Caribbean warned without such a dredging, Key West would simply be passed over by it and other cruise lines.

According to a reconnaissance study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project would be economically viable and cost about $35 million.

There are opponents to the plan who cite economic and environmental concerns.

Key West's Director of Port Operations, Jim Fitton, is worried that without dredging the channel, Key West will simply be bypassed by Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines on their way to Mexico.

Fitton told the room of residents, "They'll bypass us and go straight to Mexico. Royal Caribbean used to be our biggest client. In a couple of years, it'll be down to no boats; that's where we're going. "

Some residents wanted to know who exactly made the statement that Key West would be crossed off itineraries.  In response, Fitton named Royal Caribbean's vice president of government relations for the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia Michael Ronan.

In an email Ronan sent to Fitton earlier this month,  "All ships we have built and are planning to build since 2005... cannot call Key West under present channel conditions. We operate our newest, largest ships in the Florida/Gulf and East Coast itineraries.

As we bring on our newer vessels they replace older, smaller ones on the preferred U.S. itineraries. We presently operate routes that would call Key West if the channel could accommodate them.

With the opening of the new larger locks in the Panama Canal [scheduled for a 2014 completion] our ship designs for the forseeable [sic] future will be of a size that will not be able to call Key West if the channel is not modified. "